Description And Comments

Toy Story Mania! ushered in a whole new generation of Disney attractions: virtual dark rides. Since Disneyland opened in 1955, ride vehicles had moved past two- and three-dimensional sets often populated by Audio-Animatronics (AA); these detailed sets and robotic figures literally defined the Disney creative genius in attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, and Peter Pan’s Flight. Instead, Toy Story Midway Mania! has long corridors, totally empty, covered with reflective material. There’s almost nothing there . . . until you put on your 3-D glasses. Instantly, the corridor is full and brimming with color, action, and activity, thanks to projected computer-graphic imagery (CGI).

Conceptually, this is an interactive shooting gallery much like Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, but in Toy Story Midway Mania!, your ride vehicle passes through a totally virtual midway, with booths offering such games as ring tossing and ball throwing. You use a cannon on your ride vehicle to play as you move along from booth to booth. Unlike the laser guns in Buzz Lightyear, however, Toy Story Midway Mania’s pull-string cannons take advantage of CGI technology to toss rings, shoot balls, and even throw eggs and pies. Each game booth is manned by a Toy Story character who is right beside you in 3-D glory cheering you on. In addition to 3-D imagery, you experience various smells, vehicle motion, wind, and water spray. The ride begins with a training round to familiarize you with your cannon and the nature of the games and then continues through a number of “real” games in which you compete against your riding mate. The technology has the ability to self-adjust the level of difficulty so that every rider is challenged, and there are plenty of easy targets for small children to reach. Tip: Let the pull-string retract all the way back into the cannon before pulling it again. If you don’t, the cannon won’t fire.

Also of note, a 6-foot-tall Mr. Potato Head interacts with and talks to guests in real time in the preshow queuing area of Toy Story.

Touring Tips

Much of the queuing area for Toy Story Midway Mania! is across the pedestrian walkway from the attraction’s entrance. The queuing is covered, which is good, but it’s not air-conditioned, which is very bad, with temperatures escalating into the 90s and higher. Not roasting in this oven is a great incentive to experience Toy Story Midway Mania! in the early morning, before it gets crowded.

As you might expect, Toy Story Midway Mania! is addictive, and though it’s great fun right off the bat, it takes a couple of rides before you really get the hang of the pull-string cannon and the way the targets are presented. To rack up a high score, you must identify and shoot at high-value targets: High-value targets are small and often moving, while low-value targets are larger and easier to hit. Toward the end of the ride, the top score of the day and the top scores of the month are posted. If you’re a newbie and you’d like to ride several times to gain experience and get your skill level up, consider making the attraction your first stop after the park opens.

The challenge of seeing Toy Story Midway Mania! without a horrendous wait was a hot topic among Unofficial Guide readers. But since Cars Land’s debut, waits have become much more manageable, especially in the early morning. If you’ve experienced the extreme waits that always accompany the Orlando clone of this ride, rest assured that Anaheim’s operations keep the line here moving much more swiftly. As a father from London, Ontario, wrote us:

The lines for Toy Story Midway Mania! at DCA are so much more manageable, never being longer than about 40 minutes. It was great to not deal with the insanity experienced at the Florida version.

Toy Story Midway Mania! Wait Times

This chart shows you roughly how long you'll wait for Toy Story Midway Mania! when you visit on a day with a given Disney California Adventure Crowd Level. The blue bars represent the average "peak" wait time (that is, how long the line will at its busiest). The bottom and top black lines represent the range of peak wait times to expect (for you fellow nerds out there: it's the 5th percentile and 95th percentile of peak wait times). Please note that these are estimates, and for a better forecast for your travel dates, see Toy Story Midway Mania! Wait Times.

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